Welcome to college football’s Week 5! During which we ask, “Is this really Week 5?”
But it is. And even though we’ve just passed the mark into October, we already have a top-10 matchup in the 125th meeting between Auburn and Georgia, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
It’s the teams’ first October game since 1936 (it was on the 24th), and the earliest it has ever been played, other than the first one on Feb. 20, 1892, which just seems like it was late for 1891. So it’s highly unusual is what we’re saying, like most everything else anywhere right now.
There will be a steady dose of fun football throughout the day, and we’ll keep the highlights, well, highlighted here. Read on for important happenings in uniforms, falconry and one final shot to watch Houston Baptist legend Bailey Zappe putting up historically significant passing statistics.
Top 25 scores
All times Eastern. Lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
No. 22 BYU 45, Louisiana Tech 14
Through three games, the Cougars have easily been one of the most impressive teams in the country and even though it’s hard to know how much stock to put in dominant wins against Navy, Troy and Louisiana Tech, the Cougars are primed to be a part of the national conversation. Quarterback Zach Wilson was nearly flawless against Louisiana Tech on Friday and should start generating some Heisman buzz. — Kyle Bonagura
No. 3 Florida 38, South Carolina 24
It was a similar story for the Gators as last week — high-flying offense, questionable defense. Kyle Trask threw four touchdown passes Saturday against the Gamecocks, and his connection with Kyle Pitts remains strong. Trask became the third player in SEC history with 10 passing touchdowns through the first two games of a season, while Pitts now has six total touchdowns in two games. Though Florida was in control for most of the win against South Carolina, the defense once again gave up too many big plays in key situations. For example, South Carolina was 5-of-6 on fourth down (the only stop came late in the game in the end zone) and dominated time of possession in part because it was able to convert. — Andrea Adelson
TCU 33, No. 9 Texas 31
The Longhorns are a miracle finish against Texas Tech away from being 1-2, and Saturday’s loss to TCU was Texas’ sixth to an unranked team when the Longhorns are ranked in the Tom Herman era (most in the FBS in that span). The defense continues to show flaws (it allowed TCU to run for 226 yards, including a late 26-yard score from TCU QB Max Duggan); the running game wasn’t consistent; and self-inflicted errors were crucial. Gary Patterson’s teams have beaten the Longhorns six of the past seven meetings, and the Longhorns have much to rectify before meeting Oklahoma next week. — Sam Khan Jr.
No. 21 Tennessee 35, Missouri 12
Eric Gray and Ty Chandler combined for 195 yards and two touchdowns on the ground as Tennessee’s rushing attack had one of its most impressive performances in years. That’s big news for a Vols team that wants to push its way into the conversation as a genuine contender in the SEC East. Also impressive is the Tennessee defense, which held Missouri to 344 yards of offense — the 10th straight game the Vols have held an opponent to less than 400 yards. Tennessee is 9-1 in that span. — David Hale
NC State 30, No. 24 Pittsburgh 29
Just when Pitt might shed its history of losing games it absolutely should not lose, another fall Saturday comes along. Despite being double-digit favorites against an NC State team that got embarrassed a week ago, the Panthers lost 30-29. Pitt’s vaunted defense, which ranked among the best in the country headed into the game, allowed the Wolfpack to drive 79 yards in 1:21 for the game-winning score with 23 seconds left. If that was not disappointing enough, the Panthers defense had only two sacks and two tackles for loss after terrorizing quarterbacks all season. It was a huge missed opportunity. — Andrea Adelson
No. 12 Cincinnati 28, South Florida 7
This game had a little bit of everything. There were eight interceptions and a fumble, with five of the interceptions coming from USF quarterbacks. USF scored in the second half, and Cincinnati returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Cincinnati’s defense was stout once again, holding USF to 94 total yards in the first half and creating an incredible number of turnovers. The offense put up only 14 points in the first half and quarterback Desmond Ridder had his struggles throughout the day, but the ground game and defense put it away in the second half. The score looks lopsided, and it was, but Cincinnati still has some things to clean up moving forward on offense. — Tom VanHaaren
No. 2 Alabama 52, No. 13 Texas A&M 24
There might not be a more balanced offense in the SEC than Alabama, which put on a clinic against Texas A&M. Mac Jones has shown time and time again that he can hurt you with his arm, whether he’s throwing to All-American receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, little-known John Metchie or seldom-used Miller Forristall. Or he can just hand the ball off to Najee Harris and let him do the hard work. The Aggies had to pick their poison, and there was no good answer Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa.
Texas A&M: If going on the road to Alabama was the test of whether Texas A&M was finally ready to compete in the SEC West under coach Jimbo Fisher, the Aggies failed. And it wasn’t a particularly close call. Kellen Mond made some nice throws, but he didn’t show the kind of playmaking ability needed to stress an Alabama defense. The pick-six he threw in the first half was a back-breaker. Fisher’s defense didn’t perform much better, especially in the passing game, where Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and John Metchie ran wild. — Alex Scarborough
SMU 30, No. 25 Memphis 27
The Tigers got off to a slow start, down 24-3 to SMU early, and despite cutting the lead to 24-20 by halftime, they weren’t able to finish the comeback. SMU’s late drive and field goal to take a 30-27 lead would be enough to hand Memphis its first loss of the season. It was a difficult game to come back to — having not played since Sept. 5 — for the Tigers. The loss ended Memphis’ six-game win streak over the Mustangs. — Harry Lyles Jr.
No. 17 Oklahoma State 47, Kansas 7
After two ugly wins, the Cowboys had their most complete performance to date with a dominant win over Kansas. Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace had season-best performances, and freshman QB Shane Illingworth showed promise as well with a clean performance. The Pokes’ defense continues to excel and nearly posted a shutout. Through three weeks, Oklahoma State is the only undefeated Big 12 squad; a great spot to be in. — Khan
No. 12 North Carolina 26, Boston College 22
Trey Morrison played the role of hero Saturday, picking off a Phil Jurkovec pass on a two-point try in the final minute of action, returning it for two points of his own, securing a 26-22 win over Boston College. It’s nothing new for North Carolina to have to sweat out a fourth quarter, but the inability to slow down Jurkovec — 313 yards, two TD passes — until that failed conversion try offers some room for concern. Mack Brown has worked wonders at UNC, but the Heels’ inability to put teams away early remains another worry. The good news? Sam Howell (225 yards, two TDs) is still good enough to keep the Heels chugging along. — Hale
No. 20 LSU 41, Vanderbilt 7
A nice way to come off of a loss in which the opposing quarterback throws the most yards in any SEC game ever, is to play Vanderbilt. LSU comes out of Nashville with a 41-7 win, in a game that saw the return of Derek Stingley Jr. He made his impact felt both defensively and on special teams. Myles Brennan also looked better, completing 23 of his 37 passes for 337 yards, four touchdowns and one pick. LSU looked a lot more like LSU again. — Lyles
No. 4 Georgia 27, Auburn 6
After starting quarterback Jake Fromm turned pro, the Bulldogs brought in a pair of graduate transfers to compete to replace him. Maybe their guy was already there — former walk-on Stetson Bennett IV. Since coming off the bench in the opener at Arkansas, Bennett has provided Georgia’s offense a much-needed spark and the leader it needed. He threw for 240 yards with one touchdown in a 27-6 win over Auburn. With UGA’s defense suffocating opponents — the Tigers had just 28 yards of offense on 14 plays in their first four possessions — Bennett doesn’t have to do too much. He just has to keep making good decisions and not turn the ball over, which he has largely done so far.
Auburn: It was more of the same for the Tigers in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Auburn lost to Georgia for the 13th time in the past 16 meetings; the Tigers haven’t won at Sanford Stadium since 2005. Auburn’s offensive line had a difficult time blocking the Bulldogs, which was expected. What wasn’t expected was Georgia’s success on offense. UGA scored on four of its first five possessions and went 9-for-14 on third down. Georgia ran for 202 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards per rush, not including one sack. The Tigers played without injured starting cornerback Jaylin Simpson and then lost safety Smoke Monday to a targeting ejection three minutes into the game. — Mark Schlabach
Arkansas 21, No. 16 Mississippi State 14
Every Mike Leach quarterback has to find out what it’s like to face an opponent that constantly drops eight or so defenders into coverage, wrecks his internal clock and tests his patience. K.J. Costello learned that lesson against Arkansas, throwing three picks (including a pick-six), averaging just 7.1 yards per completion and watching a comeback effort get stymied by two red zone turnovers on downs and a muffed punt. A week after beating the defending national champions, the Bulldogs lost to a team that hadn’t won a conference game since 2017. — Connelly
Iowa State 37, No. 18 Oklahoma 30
The Sooners had another challenging week after losing to Kansas State. Iowa State kept the game close throughout the evening and looked like the more dominant team in the fourth quarter as they came away with the 37-30 upset. Perhaps the most glaring thing from Oklahoma’s perspective was how poorly they did tackling down the stretch. A Spencer Rattler interception late in the fourth sealed their fate. Now, the Sooners fall to 1-2 with Texas up next. — Lyles
No. 1 Clemson 41, Virginia 23
Another week, another win, another game in which fans might’ve liked to see just a little more. It’s hard to knock Clemson for a 3-0 start with three games that were never close. On the other hand, the Tigers let Virginia hang around, and rather than a sexy blowout win, they got another ho-hum snoozer. Yes, Trevor Lawrence was great once again. Travis Etienne turned in another vintage performance. The defense largely held its own. But with a red-hot Miami team on deck, it’s hard to fault fans who would’ve liked to have seen Clemson put the hammer down Saturday. — Hale
Tulsa 34, No. 11 UCF 26
The vibe for this one was set in the first quarter, which featured five turnovers, two safeties and 18 total possessions. This was destined to be a weird one. UCF bolted to a 16-2 lead primarily due to defense, but Tulsa clawed back and took its first lead early in the fourth quarter. Incredibly, the Golden Hurricane defense forced punts on four straight late possessions, then put a stop to a last-minute drive as well. Tulsa defends UCF as well as pretty much anyone, and it scored them a second straight upset over the Knights. — Connelly
Not so fast, my friend
Later, dudes. Just not much later.
Albilene Christian RB tosses up a Tyreek Hill peace sign to the defense then proceeds to get tackled 😂
— Freezing Cold Takes (@OldTakesExposed) October 3, 2020
Asim Rose thinks he’s about to score and throws up a celebratory peace sign, but he’s tackled just short of the end zone. Two plays later, Rose fumbles at the goal line.
And the person they were emulating, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, warned them not to throw up the deuces if they can’t back it up.
I see plenty guys getting tackled while chucking up the deuces , that’s a no bueno 🙂🙂
— Ty Hill (@cheetah) October 3, 2020
Uga won’t be between the hedges for an entire season for the first time since the 1955 because live mascots have been sidelined this season across college football. But he still appears to be living well.
Uga getting ready for some 🏈 just like the rest of us. pic.twitter.com/XMjeOMJJfq
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 3, 2020
The best QB you’ve never seen
This is a weird season, but nothing may be stranger than North Dakota State playing a one-game fall season. But that means we get a chance to watch Trey Lance, a first-round NFL draft prospect who led the Bison to another FCS title last year. Have you heard the name but don’t know what to expect? Before you check out the game on ESPN+, make sure to read all about how Lance got here from Mark Schlabach.
Out of high school, Trey Lance had zero offers to play quarterback from Power 5 programs. That doubt shaped his path forward – as the North Dakota State star is now considered to be a future first-round NFL draft pick.
Get up for game day
Prepare yourself for a day of big games by watching Alabama’s hype video for its players.
The video that plays in the tunnel from Alabama’s walk of champions into the new Bryant-Denny Stadium locker room. pic.twitter.com/KqRR8H72xn
— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) October 1, 2020
The electric Zappe
How much does Houston Baptist quarterback Bailey Zappe like to pitch it around?
In three games this season (all against FBS teams, including one against Texas Tech), he has thrown for 1,453 yards, 12 touchdowns with just one interception, an average of 484 yards per game. In 2003, when Texas Tech QB B.J. Symons set the FBS passing record of 5,833 yards, he averaged 433 yards over his first three games.
Unfortunately, Zappe and the HBU Huskies play just one more game this season, against Eastern Kentucky today at 3 p.m. on ESPN3 and the ESPN app.
Catch him while you can.
Alright, alright, alright
The Texas Minister of Culture, aka Matthew McConaughey, will be in attendance for the Longhorns’ game against TCU in Austin on Saturday … well, at least some version will be.
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) October 2, 2020
The equipment room
Air Force will honor the Tuskeegee Airmen with their Red Tails uniforms against Navy.
— Sink Navy (@AF_Football) September 30, 2020
The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of Black pilots from the U.S. Army Air Corps commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The military aviators flew in World War II during a time in which most of the U.S. military — and the country — was still racially segregated.
Read more about the uniforms here.
In addition, Air Force will debut its new mascot, Nova, a full white-phase Gyrfalcon. Nova replaces Aurora, the academy’s mascot for the past 23 years, who died in December.
We’re excited to announce the name of our new mascot will be Nova. Nova, an exceedingly bright star, represents the future of our Academy as a commissioning source for both Air & Space Force officers. #YourAcademy @usairforce @SpaceForceDoD @SpaceForceCSO @command_us pic.twitter.com/Gt7pkzzWce
— U.S. Air Force Academy (@AF_Academy) September 3, 2020
Vanderbilt will wear helmets with its old ’80s-era Vandy script logo with an outline of the Nashville skyline.
For three games this season, Vandy will be wearing a helmet featuring a vintage-inspired logo backed by the Nashville skyline. pic.twitter.com/prXChCWl7K
— Alan George (@VandyGeorge) October 1, 2020
Iowa is honoring the legendary Hayden Fry, who died in December.
That’s what it’s all about.
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) October 1, 2020
Iowa State is wearing black unis against Oklahoma.
— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) September 30, 2020
Florida honors alum and ESPN reporter
When the Gators take the field today, they will do so with a cutout of grad and former marching band member Edward Aschoff looking on. Aschoff, a college football reporter for ESPN, died last Christmas Eve on his 34th birthday. We love him and will never forget him.
— Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) October 2, 2020